Don’t know why I didn’t see this story earlier. But it’s one of the most intriguing lawsuits I’ve ever heard of: you get convicted of murder, you go to prison, and a fairly ditzy talk show host (I met her so I get to have an opinion: she’s ditzy) says bad things about you related to the murder. Then you sue her for saying bad things that have damaged your reputation because you’ve maintained your innocence and have just won an appeal (for inadequate counsel during your trial) and you may be acquitted or not retried, so …
Is a journalist committing libel if he falsely reports that a known traitor like Benedict Arnold is also a shoplifter, or a notorious mobster like John J. Gotti a dognapper?
Or are some stains to a reputation so ruinous that they obliterate the risk that an offender will ever be able to sue for libel over false statements that cause further harm to it?
That is the crux of the federal lawsuit Michael C. Skakel, 53, has been pursuing for the last year against the lawyer-turned-television personality Nancy Grace and others associated with her current-affairs program.
Read it. It’s fascinating and will bend your mind: At Issue in Skakel’s Libel Suit Against TV Host, Degrees of Tarnish on a Reputation – NYTimes.com. (Although I think Alison Leigh Cowan, the writer, is being kind to call Nancy Grace a journalist.)
3/9/14 UPDATE: Ruling Clears Way for Skakel Libel Suit – NYTimes.com.